Female Disruptors: Stephanie Lindley is making tiny cookies that pack a big punch.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie Lindley, CEO of Byrd Cookie Company.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I’m the CEO and fourth-generation owner of Byrd Cookie Company, which was originally founded by my great-grandfather, Benjamin Tillman Byrd Sr., in 1924.
Over the years, we’ve grown Byrd Cookie Company from a regional cookie bakery to a national leader in the specialty food industry. We’ve developed exciting new flavors, including the award-winning Key Lime Cooler, and forged strategic partnerships with Delta Airlines, Universal Studios, Neiman Marcus, Dylan’s Candy Bar and Williams-Sonoma, positioning Byrd as a leading gourmet cookie brand with strong annual sales and successful retail stores in Georgia and South Carolina.
Why did you found your company?
I began my career at the age of 19, learning the cookie business from my grandfather, BT Byrd Jr. The lessons learned from previous generations have driven me to dramatically expand the company, but with a deep respect for the hand-crafted traditions that define the Byrd legacy.
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
We love making the world a little sweeter, one cookie at a time. We’re focused on meeting the increased demand for cookies while exceeding sales objectives for retail stores, wholesale manufacturing and contract baking. In recent years, we have secured major baking contracts with Trader Joe’s, United Airlines, Dollar Tree and Target, repositioning the company as an international large-volume cookie manufacturer. We love baking tiny cookies with big flavor and are proud we’re making such a major impact in the gourmet food industry.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
Both of my parents have been huge influences on my business life.
My mother is a very organized, highly productive person as well as a terrific hostess…